Baashiqa sub-district, located to the north-east of the city of Mosul in Iraq, was damaged by years of fighting.
Most residents have been displaced since 2014, only to return and start a new life after the battle the Mosul ended. Upon return, searching for main sources of livelihoods was the foremost challenge for them. Trees in the cultivated area have been burnt during the fighting while the factories have been destroyed. Even the humanitarian aid provided to the local population is sporadic.
The ICRC works to provide as much food assistance and household essentials as possible, as well as working on future projects supporting agriculture in the area.
Asmahan, Maya, and Julie are three women who belong to the same family. They had been displaced together from their home and returned at the beginning of 2017. They speak about years they spent in shelters, and the dream they had throughout those long years of displacement of returning to safety and security. Today, they live safely in their home in Baashiqa.
Many children left Baashiqa at a very young age. Others were born far away from their homes. Today, more than 170 children go to the only kindergarten in the sub-district, starting to live a normal life away from fighting and displacement.
Safwan kept counting days while he was away from his hometown. Three years later, he was happy to return and find his shop still intact. He decided to resume his business selling wedding dresses, imported from Syria and Turkey. “Each wedding dress I sell deepens my belief that life should move on, and we deserve joy,” said Safwan.
After suffering for years in shelters, Hassan and Hayat returned to Baashiqa in September 2017. Their home did not suffer much damage, but they were profoundly saddened by seeing their town devastated. Now, Hassan runs his business from home, selling coffee to make his living. He is just like the thousands of people looking for livelihood opportunities to provide for their families.
“My husband did not want to flee our home in Baashiqa, but we were forcibly displaced. Now, we returned to our town just to see our home completely destroyed,” said Ezha. Currently, Ezha and her husband live in a rented house and plan to rebuild their home destroyed in the war. They are afflicted by the irreparable loss of their loved ones.